“Forget Sunscreen, Be Resouceful”
Good afternoon, Class of 2099:
I can’t be here in person to address you, since I passed into oblivion long ago. But as a member of a U.S. graduating class of 1971 at a small college in Boston, I wanted to leave you with a brief message — from the past to the future — about global warming and climate change.
As the class of 2099 here at Tel Aviv University in Israel, you are about to enter the 22nd Century in a few more months, and you will bring with you not only your university experience but also your career expectations and personal anxieties as citizens living on a planet in the midst of a climate crisis.
I’m sure you’ve heard this term a lot in the past four years — “climate crisis” — but you should know that in my days as a student in the 1960s, we never used the phrase. Back then, we had not even heard of the term yet!
Back then, of course, we were focused on terms such as Cold War, nuclear winter, war on poverty, racism, the oil shock, the Middle East situation, and later on, towards of our “three score and ten” on Earth, newer terms such as 911, terrorism and global warming.
I’m not around now, but I hope you can read my message online and perhaps view it on a digital recording in a public library. Before I continue, I just want to take a few moments here to wish you all the best of luck in your future life and the best of health to enjoy the luck that I am wishing for you.
May all your dreams come true, and then some!
Members of the Class of 2099, you are living in a very crucial time in the history of humankind. Your world stands at the threshold of a period of human history when very important decisions will have to be made about the use of fossil fuels and the “consume! slash! burn!” lifestyle that you have come to expect.
I wonder: do the names James Lovelock or James Hansen or Al Gore still ring a bell in your generation now, or have new faces and names replaced these far-seeing men?
Is that book by Mark Lynas, titled “Six Degrees,” still in print, or has a new besteller on climate change become the must-read of your generation?
Is that documentary from 2006, “An Inconvenient Truth”, still in circulation? And what about Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The 11th Hour”? Have you ever heard of the movie, or has it been all but forgotten in your day and age?
By the way, have you men and women of the Class of 2099 heard by now about such global warming adaptation strategies as “sustainable population retreats” in northern regions, once referred to as “polar cities”?
The terms were coined back in 2006 and some people blogged them for a couple of years before mainstream scientists and engineers went even deeper into the concepts involved.
Class of 2099, I want to leave you with seven words: “We must tighten the noose around coal”.
Dr. Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University in the U.S. wrote those words more than 100 years ago, and they were prophetic.
Has your world tightened the noose around coal? Has your world started to tackle the vexing problems of overpopulation, climate change and the creation of a sustainable economy? Is global warming something that will shape your future, or are the denialists out there still complaining that it is a hoax?
Whatever your own personal views are about global warming, pro or con, or just sitting on the fence in the middle of the debate, you should know this: there is not much time left. I hope your generation finds a way to stop the burning of fossil fuels and also finds ways to mitigate the impact of climate change on your future world. I just said that “there is not much time left.”
Maybe I should have said “time is running out”. Or maybe I should have said: “Time has run out.”
Whatever. Class of 2099, go out and help create your world. Good luck
and God bless!
Dan Bloom is a climate activist working in Taiwan. He graduated from
Tufts College in 1971 in Boston. He is an advocate of polar cities, building retreats for humankind for when the effects of global warming will make regions we live in today inhospitable. He is a friend to Green Prophet.